I noticed a very telling article in the newspaper yesterday that resonated with me. The article’s headline was “English on rise among Hispanics,” (Indianapolis Star, May 13, 2015, Sect. B, page 3B). The reporter Alan Gomez looks at data from a recent Pew Research Center report that says that more Hispanics speak English proficiently than ever and the numbers are rising. Also, that most U.S. Hispanics are native Americans, 35 million to 19 million, and many of them speak English from the get-go.
Of course, some political blowhards wade in saying the numbers are false, that we need to make English the “official” language, and all that twaddle.
As most genealogists learn quickly, their own and everyone else's immigrant ancestors knew and followed this same pattern to the letter. My Welsh-born grandfather told his own children, “We speak English, we’re Americans now!” I imagine a similar version went around most immigrant families as far back as we have immigrants.
What most of these political fools with an ax to grind choose to ignore is that English IS the official language; we don’t need a law to say so. And, really, English is the official language of the greater world community. That hundreds of millions of non-Americans around the world are working their butts off to learn the language is a pretty strong validation of that fact.
I always find it hilarious as well as pathetic that the anti-immigration clique in the U.S. chooses to ignore their own immigrant ancestry and try to lock the door behind them after their own family is safely inside.
My take: Bring it on! Americans can handle immigrants like they have always handled them. It’s never been easy for foreigners to adjust and assimilate here, but millions have done so, and their descendants are some of our most important and loyal citizens. Bring it on! Foreign-born naturalized citizens do change us, and that can be a good thing—most of us can stand a little changing. I’m willing to bet the farm that America changes immigrants more than they change us. Bring it on!